Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Last year, I signed up for Smilebox.com. Did their 2 week trial, liked it ok enough, and paid a whooping 40 bucks for full access to their internet friendly invitations, slide shows, and scrap-booking.

The offer a month to month or annual membership.

THE CATCH, auto renewal and no refunds.

I happened to click on our subscription program, was checking out the renewal information.

Forgot the price.

On my account page, the only way to access the information was to approve an update on my credit card.

Being stupid and naive, I did this, I just had to change the year. Clicked to update and got charged.

There was no new terms and conditions to read.
There was no price or final order approval screen.

I immediately went in to cancel the order of renewal, and found out, sure you can cancel, but we don't care that it happened 2 minutes ago, we are keeping your money.

Their reasoning is, that because over a year ago I read the term and conditions contract and agreed to it.


and they are not responsible if you don't go in and find it and review it, prior to accessing your account page.

I don't care that they think I should have researched deeply into their website, (which i find to be very unfriendly).

They don't care that their product is not that amazing.

I understand that prorating an annual membership is difficult, and that by not giving refunds it makes it easy on them. What I don't understand how a 2 week trial return policy can not take place on the annual membership if you have let the membership lapse.

THIEVES! As stupid as it may sound to some, I can't help but think they found a loop hole in their policies that allow them to knowingly steal from customers.

I am now out another 40 bucks (not a fortune, but half of my food budget for a week). With no account.

Thieving bunch of tech heads.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Work has kept me busy

My newest three week challenge, trying to keep up.

I am gone Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays (all day).

Monday through Friday I babysit.

Papa is still cruising through his MBA program. We will officially be down to 2 years in less than a month. Then his grueling summer schedule will begin. Mon-Thursday nights at school.

And fingers crossed, some kind of job sooner than later.

Although I am not sure about a 4 night a week class, a full work day, and then watching the kids while I am working. It is a good thing the summer semester is separated in two 6 weeks sessions.


So my food blog must stop for a while, although I did have some most delicious vegetarian meals.
and BBQ season is starting up at our house.

So if you are looking for some amazing meals, look somewhere else for awhile.

Eventually I will catch up.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lambs are cute, Lams are fluffy


When I was younger, my grandparents for some reason where allowing my uncle to raise sheep on their property.

Then one day they brought over the meat.

Curried Lamb was the bomb. I still remember the taste.

So to try something new, Last Sunday I made

Roasted Stuffed Lamb, with scalloped potatoes, and a carrot salad.

I even fed it to my parents.

I don't really know how they felt about it, Papa was not in love with the taste of the meat, but it was good to me, and the kids.

We wont be making it again, even though the vote was positive. It cost way too much. So I wont give you the recipe. I know most of you wont be making it. If you really want it, email me, and I will send you this recipe.

I am being brave

I believe you all LOVE me, so I will show you what my counters look like.

It isn't that they have dead food all over them, dirt or stuck on who knows what.

The grout, it is just gross.

This is how it looks after cleaning and scrubbing with soap and water.
Then using the chemical solution.
Sometimes I have to bleach it too.

I love tiled counters, but HATE the tiny bites of gunk!

I have purchased smelly, gross, gloves needed, chemicals to clean it.

They really don't work, they just leave a nasty smell and a film of hazardous waste behind.

When I saw this "recipe" I had to try it.

If it worked then I would be so happy.

If it didn't then I was no worse for wear.

So before alot of my grout looked like this.

I added this
and this

mixed in a little elbow grease with this

and the results:

what do you think?

Fish, and Chips, and VINEGAR

All things I love to eat together, but vinegar is also a basic cleaning staple in my kitchen. And now I have another amazing thing to add to my current use.
I have used if for what seems like forever as a microwave cleaner.

Just put half a cup in a microwave safe dish, heat for about a minute and leave it hot and steaming closed up for a few minutes. I usually leave it and forget about it, but come back after loading the dishwasher.

Then take a regular old cloth, paper towel, sponge...

and I don't care how disgusting your Micro is, the stuff just wipes out.

NOW for the newest use.

I made a volcano in my garbage disposal. equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Put the baking soda in first, then the vinegar, and plug the hole. IF YOU DON"T HAVE A PLUG DON"T DO THIS.

This is a natural pipe cleaner, and the combination is considered caustic when mixed.

Leave it for about a half hour.

Then rinse the drain with hot water.

You can use it in the Bath, the laundry sink, just be sure you can plug the pipe. You don't want a volcano in your tub, but in your pipes.

It cleaned out the line to my dishwasher, which I couldn't really access, and it smelled BAD, but for the first time in about a year, I haven't had water backing up into the counter top air vent, and spill all over the counter and the floor.


Chicken and Dumplings

Because it is snowing again, and I feel a sinus infection or cold coming, I decided to make chicken and dumplings.

Nothing says a cold day then soup.

To spice things up we found a recipe that included a twist to a normal bisquit dumpling, by adding shallots, chives, and dijon mustard to a pate a choux recipe. Creating small quenelle shape .


Find a Pate a Choux recipe you are comfortable with and add

1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 or 1 shallots depending on how much onion flavor you like

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of minced fresh herbs (dill, chives choose a fav)


4 quarts chicken stock (cook your chicken first and use it)

5 stalks celery

3 large carrots

1 teaspoon honey

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

1 large garlic clove, crushed

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Roux (1 stick of butter and flour)

shredded chicken

1/4 cup freshly minced herbs (herbs de province, tarragon, parsley, anything that you like in your chicken soup)

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

flat leaf parsley leaves

First Find a Pate a Choux recipe that you are comfortable with. It is alot easier than people realize. Before adding the eggs, mix in the mustard and herbs. THIS MAKES THE BISCUITS AMAZING. Then take a few minutes and dish out the quenelle forms. It is also easier than it looks. you are basically using two teaspoons and rolling the dough into uniform sizes. Place it on a PAM* sprayed or like wax sheet until you are ready to drop it into a boiling pot of water or stock. I prefer stock, as these babies will bath in the delicious chicken flavor for a uniform and delicious taste. Some people prefer to taste chicken on chicken, and biscuit in biscuit.

While this is going on or prior to it, boil your chicken.

it can be pieces (I like thighs and legs over breasts meat) or a whole chicken. Once they are cooked remove the chicken to cool and add the veggies, or cook your biscuits first, remove and then cook your veggies. Add a roux, chicken and biscuits at the end and let it boil.


FRESH Fish sticks

I love fishsticks. They are crunchy, golden, and taste so good with tarter sauce. Even Monkey eats them, and from a girl who "doesn't like or eat fish" she seems to think these don't count.

But after watching the show "Kill it, Cook it, Eat it", I was reminded why I chose to be a vegetarian all those years ago. They touch on free range vs. "slaughter house" set ups. A big part of these shows is showing you what you are used to getting via fast food joints (and we are talking in the UK) or the cheapest pieces of meat you can buy at the store, pre-packed junk vs. free range higher priced meats, or hunting or own.

We have been having Monkey watch it.

This self proclaimed carnivore, who thinks that the only thing that completes a meal is a HUGE slab of MEAT, was so engrossed I thought she would suddenly decided that mass produced foods were not for her. That maybe veggies would start to look so much better.

She still want meat, ALL THE TIME.

Not that I have a problem with that.

I did tell her though that the fish sticks you love are mainly water, bread crumbs, and leftover pieces of fish.

Just like those chicken nuggets we watched them make. We are taking, skin and scrape mixed with bread and water. BLAH!

So we found this "french " recipe for what is basically Fish sticks

Super easy, So delicious, I will never ever ever buy fish sticks again.

.75lb of sole, (white fish) sliced into two finger width sized portions.
3 eggs beaten
Flour for dredging with Salt and Pepper (easy tip, put flour, S&P into a bread bag or like and shake and bake coat it)
Bread Crums
Olive Oil for frying

after slicing the fish into "fish sticks"dip in the beaten egg, then dredge in flour. Set aside and continue till all fish has it's flour coated base.
Then re-dip the floured fish in egg, and dredge again, this time in the breadcrumbs.

Set these aside and let them sit for 10 minutes. This helps keep the coating from flaking off in the olive oil.

Heat your pan, make sure it is HOT, with the olive oil rippling. Just enough oil to cover the bottom, you don't want your fish swimming. Cook about 2-3 min each side, drain on paper towel, and serve hot.

The kids dipped theirs in tarter sauce, but I don't think you need it at all.
And for those of you who HATE fish smell, you are crazy.

If your fish is fresh, it doesn't smell.

Really it doesn't.

And it taste AMAZING.

Calender of Calm

Jan 1st - 21st Say no to Carbonation...good-bye Soda!
Jan 21st-Feb 8th Vegetables Please...3 weeks of Vegetarian Meals
January 8th - March 1st Early to Rise... 6:30 wake up call for the Nightingale